Foot-and-mouth: consuming meat and dairy

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is not a food safety or public health concern. Commercially produced meat, milk and dairy products would be safe to consume in an FMD outbreak.

Red meat and dairy products are safe to eat

If New Zealand ever had an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), red meat, pork and dairy products would still be safe to eat. All animals on infected properties would be humanely destroyed, and products from these farms wouldn't be used for food.

All livestock that are slaughtered in New Zealand are subject to strict inspections before and after slaughter to ensure only healthy animals are processed.

Meat and dairy from vaccinated animals is safe

Susceptible animals may be vaccinated to protect them from the foot-and-mouth virus. This is a decision that would be made at the time, if an outbreak occurred.

It's not unusual for New Zealand animals to be protected from diseases in this way. You have probably consumed products from vaccinated animals in the past.

All commercially produced red meat, pork and dairy products from vaccinated animals are safe to consume. The vaccine protects the health and welfare of the animals and does not affect the safety of food or other products made from them. There are strict controls around the registration and use of animal vaccines to ensure consumer safety and the health and safety of the animal.

Wool, skins and lanolin are safe

Non-edible animal products from susceptible animals are safe to use during a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

All processing of susceptible animals and their products would stop during an outbreak. This would include non-edible products like wool and skins, which – although safe to use – could potentially spread the FMD virus. 

Pet food

Dogs and cats are generally unaffected by foot-and-mouth disease and can be fed the same food as usual during a disease outbreak. However, meat from infected animals must not be fed to pets and would need to be disposed of safely to prevent further spread.

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